Coffee With

Amira Medunjanin

Amira Medunjanin is a very successful singer and interpreter of sevdalinka, one of the country's most unique and valuable cultural treasures.


Amira's mother introduced this unique form at an early age and soon it became clear that sevdalinka would become her life's calling. Describing Amira's singing in which she finds new context for the form that is hundreds of years old, the prominent music journalist and author dubbed her Bosnia's Billie Holiday.

She is born in Sarajevo and grew up in Hrasno. However that part of the city is not the only one that made a mark on her childhood.

- I grew up in Hrasno, next to Grbavica Stadium. When I think of that period of my life, Trebević immediately comes to mind as each weekend was spent there, either with my parents or my aunt. Actually, a cable car and picnic on Trebević are the things that remind me of my childhood.

When we asked what is her most memorable image of Sarajevo, Amira remembers the Winter Olympics.

- I was 12 when Winter Olympic Games took place. I remember that we were excused from school to go out and clean the city. We collected the garbage, cleaned the bed of Miljacka river, and we had so much fun. 1984 was such a cool period of my life that I will never forget it. 

As favorite part of Sarajevo Amira singles out Baščaršija, while she offers two candidates for the title of the most beautiful building in the city.

- Baščaršija is my favorite. At one period of my fife I lived in Bakarevićeva Street, near Sarajevska pivara. Sometimes I would wake up at 7 o'clock in the morning just to walk through Baščaršija as shops are opening. The owners would clean the pavement in front of their shops and prepare their morning coffee. Those were really precious moments. The most beautiful buildings are Vijećnica (Town Hall) and Svrzina kuća (Svrzo's House). If someone offered me to live in Svrzina kuća, I would move in a heartbeat, because it has such a specific construction and warmth to it.

Sarajevo has a number of interesting routes for walking, and these are Amira's favorite.

- Sometimes I would go from Višnjik, where I live, through Vilsonovo šetalište to Grbavica. There were times when I used to go from Višnjik to Ilidža, but those are rare moments. I often take a walk from Višnjik to Barice, a place that offers the most beautiful view of Sarajevo.

From Amira's point of view, winter suits Sarajevo best.

- Sarajevo looks its best during winter and Baščaršija its prettiest, especially in the evenings when shops are still open emitting warm light, and the snow hovers at the edge of low roofs just moments from falling down.

Amira is a fan of homey atmosphere:

- My favorite place for a daytime coffee is Avlija. It has a homelike atmosphere, and it feels like I really came to someone's avlija (courtyard) to have a coffee. I rarely go out at night, and when that happens I like to go to Četiri sobe gospođe Safije and Peppers.

When it comes to good food, her first choice is Inat kuća.

- My favorite restaurant is Inat kuća, I also like Kod Kibeta, Libertas and Tavola, a place where fresh date mussels are on the menu every Thursday. My favorite ćevabdžinica is Tarik Hodžić's Galatasary.

Amria's favorite festival is Jazz Fest, where she performed as well.

- Since I am a musician Jazz Fest and Xenophonia are my favorite. I visit them regularly. And of course, there is Sarajevo Film Festival, which creates superb atmosphere every year.

We wanted to know what should every visitor see to get to know Sarajevo in one day?

- That sure is a short period of time (Laugh). At the beginning one should visit Svrzina kuća that should be followed by a lunch Inat kuća, then take a walk towards Alifakovac, through mahala (neighborhood), but the tour should end at Baščaršija. 

And at the very end, we asked Amira to describe Sarajevo in one sentence. This is how she sees it:

-Sarajevo is the most beautiful city in the world with incredibly good people who have a great soul.